Candidate starts write-in campaign for Minot mayor

It’s never too late for good ideas, according to Kevin Mehrer, who recently threw his hat in for Minot mayor.

The city election is June 10, but early voting started Monday and continues through Thursday from 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. in the Ward County Courthouse.

Mehrer, senior district executive for the Northern Lights Council of the Boy Scouts, is running as a write-in candidate against Chuck Barney, a former city council member and director of the Severson Entrepreneurship Academy at Minot State University.

“I think we do need a choice for mayor,” Mehrer said. “I think the city is ready for someone who is a fresh face.”

A Minot native, Mehrer graduated in 2010 from MSU, where he was involved in various associations and as director of public relations for student government. He wrote for MSU’s Red & Green and was a sportswriter for The Minot Daily News before joining the Boy Scouts organization in October 2011.

He said he decided to write in his name when he cast his ballot for mayor but wasn’t initially looking to start a campaign. But so many people supported his decision that it has turned into a campaign.

“Yes, it’s late,” he said of jumping into the race with voting already started, but he added, “I don’t think you can be too late to have a good idea. … I think I could do a great job. My vision for the city is a very hands-on, progressive view.”

Mehrer said the primary issues are flood control, growth and leadership. He would like to see the city become more proactive on these issues and wants to see leaders rise to the occasion.

He applauded the city for taking steps to address so-called “zombie” homes.

“It’s a little late, but I think it’s a good step,” he said.

He also supports examining the management of the current flood protection infrastructure to ensure the valley is getting the most of that protection while a new flood control project is being built.

“We have a lot in place even before we start building flood walls and green space. Take advantage of that and then move forward,” he said.

He said he supports sensible growth that considers the need for more housing and addresses the traffic concerns. He added that it is important to not just build houses but to build communities, which includes parks and good schools.

On the city manager search, he stressed the importance of bringing in a new manager who will offer fresh ideas.

“I am not opposed to bringing in someone new, someone not currently in our system,” he said. “Minot is going to be a challenge, and that person needs to know we have big plans for our city.”

He also said the city needs to settle the unresolved issues surrounding the dismissal of a city attorney and put the controversy behind it.

In his involvement with the Boy Scouts, he said, he is used to working with people who share his passion for the organization. During his time there, he has seen the council grow from about 700 to 1,000 scouts and become ranked among the top 10 percent of scouting. He said he would be just as passionate about seeing good things happen in city government if elected mayor.

“Our city is really poised to do great things. I want to make sure this is a city that everyone is proud of,” he said. “I love Minot, and I want to make an impact.”